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BlackBerry promises no ads on BBM chat

BlackBerry is attempting to draw a line in the sand when it comes sponsored ads reaching BBM users.

In a blog posted Tuesday, BBM product and brand marketing head Jeff Gadway acknowledged that BBM Channel creators will be able to send sponsored posts and invites to their subscribers, but such content won't seep into the actual chats. The sponsored content itself will be "direct, relevant, friendly," Gadway promised.

BBM Channel users will potentially see three different types of sponsored content from channel owners, according to Gadway.

Featured placements will be promotions designed by channel owners looking to … Read more

The monetized future of BBM

BARCELONA, Spain -- If anything can keep the good ship BlackBerry sailing, it's BBM. John Sims is the man charged with taking this slice of the BlackBerry pie and make it do two things -- grow and make money. He's been in the role just two short months, but speaking with CNET on the last day of Mobile World Congress 2014, he has a lot of big plans on both accounts.

Full CNET coverage of the 2014 Mobile World Congress

"Clearly, in the longer term, we have to monetize that investment in BBM," said Sims. "… Read more

BlackBerry could turn BBM into an ATM in emerging markets

BlackBerry might soon become a mobile ATM.

Speaking to Recode in an interview published on Tuesday, BlackBerry enterprise president John Sims said the company is meeting with firms in emerging markets around the world to explore the possibility of transferring money through BBM.

"Money movement is an important thing," Sims told Recode.

If BlackBerry delivers a full payment service, it wouldn't be the first time the company has dipped its toe in the water. Last year, in fact, BlackBerry provided a money-transfer service through BBM on a test basis in Indonesia.

Although BlackBerry's 85 million monthly … Read more

BBM to land on Windows Phone this summer

BlackBerry Messenger will expand its reach in the coming months.

In a blog posted Monday, BBM product and marketing chief Jeff Gadway revealed that the Messenger app will debut for Windows Phone users sometime this summer. The app will also travel to the newly-announced Android-powered Nokia X platform, though Gadway didn't reveal an ETA for that rollout.

BBM already supports BlackBerry OS, iOS, and Android. Users had been asking BlackBerry to extend BBM to other mobile systems, such as Windows Phone, Gadway added.

"BBM continues to grow in popularity as millions of people use our mobile platform for … Read more

Amazon may soon unveil its Web TV box

CNET Update is coming soon to an Amazon box near you:

In this episode of Update:

- Speculate over the latest buzz about Amazon's mystery TV box for streaming video. Could it also stream video games?

- Manage YouTube playlists easier with the recent site redesign.

- Send cute stickers to the one friend that still uses BlackBerry Messenger.

- Test Xbox One software for bugs before updates are released.

- Get better coverage on Sprint if you're one of the few to try out Wi-Fi calling.

- Require selfies for entry to your next event with the … Read more

If WhatsApp can fetch $19B, what's BlackBerry's BBM worth?

You might think that Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp for $19 billion suggests that BlackBerry is sitting on a gold mine with its BBM messenger service.

Well, not so fast.

Facebook shocked the market on Wednesday with the purchase of messaging app WhatsApp in a deal that included $16 billion in cash and stock, and another $3 billion in restricted stock that would vest over the next four years.

The deal set a new, much higher benchmark on the valuation of mobile messaging companies. Based on the $19 billion figure, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $42 per monthly active user (450 … Read more

BBM iOS, Android users can soon make free phone calls

BlackBerry Messenger users can tap into a potpourri of new features when the app is updated on Thursday.

Slated to reach iOS and Android users, version 2.0 of BBM will bring with it BBM Voice, a way to call your BBM contacts. Already available for BlackBerry OS, BBM Voice gives you the ability to make free phone calls to other BBM users via your Wi-Fi or data connection.

Another new feature on the list is BBM Channels, a chat discussion forum devoted to a variety of topics. Find a channel that interests you, and you can join in on … Read more

BBM chief to leave BlackBerry

BlackBerry said on Monday that the head of its BBM business is leaving the company.

Andrew Bocking, executive vice president of BlackBerry and head of the messenger service, marks the latest in a long line of departures by high-profile executives, including much of the C-level members. Bocking, however, was seen as an executive who could fit in with the new guard led by CEO John Chen. The news was first reported by Boy Genius Report. BlackBerry confirmed the pending departure to CNET.

BlackBerry's BBM messenger service has been a rare bright spot at a company that hasn't had … Read more

BlackBerry launching BBM Channels, its answer to Twitter

BlackBerry's response to the social network craze, BBM Channels, is rolling out starting on Tuesday.

Device owners running BlackBerry OS 5 or higher will soon have access to Channels, allowing them to communicate with companies, brands, and other luminaries. The idea is somewhat simple: a company, let's say, creates a Channel, and BBM users can then send messages, post questions, and otherwise communicate with that company. The company, meanwhile, can share messages, pictures, and animated GIFs through the service.

Announced in May, BBM Channels is surprisingly similar in its functionality to Twitter. Both services allow companies or brands … Read more

BBM and its quest to become a social phenomenon

BlackBerry's BBM messaging app needs a little help from its friends.

Since launching on Apple's iOS and Google's Android last month, the popularity of BBM has been a rare bright spot in an otherwise messy situation at the company. But while BBM has done well in select foreign countries where its phones are still popular, it has had less luck in its home market of North America, where BlackBerrys remain passe.

As such, BlackBerry knows it needs to woo former BBM users, and introduced "Tell your friends," a way for the BlackBerry faithful to broadcast … Read more